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Electric Car Etiquette: Try Being Considerate of Other People

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Electric Car Etiquette: ChevySparkDCFastChargewomanblondesilver

Electric car drivers may be happy about their cars, but they’re not always happy with other drivers. Photo: General Motors – Chevrolet

The popularity of electric vehicles (EVs), and their increased development by automotive manufacturers, is quickly changing the social dynamics of the road. With new types of cars being made that depend on different needs than traditional cars, everyone on the road will have to watch their behavior and learn to accommodate.

Unfortunately, the majority of drivers have not yet taken notice of this shift, despite the problems this is causing EV drivers around the country.

Related: The Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell is ready to make an impact

The Importance of EV Charging Stations

Electric fueling stations differ from traditional gasoline fueling stations. While it may take 5 minutes at most to fill up your basic mainline sedan at the local BP, electric charging takes up to a couple hours. So, it’s made sense to combine electric charging stations with parking spots rather than a “fill-up” method. These are popping up  in shopping mall, restaurant, and grocery store lots around the country.

So, what happens if you’re a gasoline-driven car who sees an empty EV charging spot? Or a hybrid-driver who doesn’t exactly need to charge up yet? If you’re like one of the many drivers faced with these same scenarios, you probably parked in that empty spot.

Too bad for the EV driver behind you who desperately needed that charging station to avoid running out of juice.

In other words, parking in a charging spot without intending to utilize it is quickly becoming the equivalent of parking in a “handicapped” spot because of its convenient placement.

Electric Car Etiquette: Tesla electric cars in parking spot EV charging stations

You don’t want to be blocked from a charging station if you’re out of juice. Photo: Windell Oskay.

Electric Car Etiquette: Taking a Stand

EV drivers are understandably worried about getting stranded somewhere with no access to re-charge their car. But, so many old-fashioned drivers on the road just aren’t taking notice of the plight of the EV. Thus, green-friendly drivers are taking a stand in the best way they know how: by adding new words to their vocabulary.

You may find the following terms being used nowadays:

  • ICE’d: When a traditional gasoline car (internal combustion engine) is parked in an EV charging station spot, blocking much-needed access.
  • Musked: When a Tesla Model S, despite only needing to charge every 250 miles, feels entitled to park in a charging spot but not plug in. The term is fondly named after Elon Musk, the chief executive of Tesla Motors Inc.

As Tesla drivers are quickly becoming known as the hipster, self-entitled “MAC owners” of the road, tension is rising between them and other EV owners, such as Volt drivers.

To alleviate this, news sources have compiled various lists of public EV charging etiquette points, such as this one from Gas2:

  1. All fully electric cars should have preference at the charger over plug-in hybrid cars.This is an easy one because a hybrid car can always fall back on its gasoline engine.
  2. Non plug-in electric cars do not belong in the EV charging spot. Again an easy one; if you’re not plugging in, don’t park there!
  3. EVs should be parked in the EV spot while charging. Similar to #2: if you don’t need to be plugged in, don’t park there!
  4. When your EV is done charging, move out of the spot. You wouldn’t leave your car in front of a fuel pump after you have filled up while you go shopping. Same here; once you’re fully charged, pull your car into a normal parking space.
  5. Be mindful of indicator lights before you unplug someone’s EV. EVs have indicator lights that show how full the battery is. So before you unplug someone’s car so you can plug in your own, make sure their EV is fully charged. Just be nice.
  6. Safety first. Don’t leave cords around for people to trip over.

If all drivers familiarize themselves with these simple electric car etiquette guidelines, we can start developing friendlier relationships with our eco-friendly neighbors.

One fact is certain, though: In the meantime, be prepared for an all-out turf war between those zealous EV and hybrid drivers.

Electric Car Etiquette - West Side Story dance scene

“You left your Nissan Leaf in an EV charging space– unplugged! We Tesla drivers shall dance around in contempt and frustration.” Photo: United Artists and DanceOn YouTube.


Related: Hyundai continues to win tech awards

  • the term musked is offensive, we don’t need people like you to fan animosities in the EV community.

    • Capt601

      Don’t forget “volted”. – when a hybrid that is posing as an EV is parked at an EV charger for hours on end with zero concern for the EV’s waiting to charge, the most common occurrence at chargers despite them lugging around a gas engine and gas tank.

    • I don’t see “Musked” as any more offensive than “ICE’d” and frankly, if the shoe fits… Of course, I drive a Volt, not a Tesla, so maybe that’s why I’m not offended. And yes, I avoid charging stations so my BEV brethren can use them. I can always fall back on the gas but they can’t. Tesla drivers should consider the same. They can fall back on their longer range. OF course, if you need to charge, you need to charge. But parking in a charge space when not plugged in is not cool no matter what you drive. Use a little sense and consideration.

  • The charge posts I use lock the connector until the charge is complete, so you cannot remove the cord from the charger. I agree that if you have a car equiped with a text notification when your car is charged, then you should move it to a normal parking spot so somebody else can get tot the charger. Where I work we have 4 charge spots for 4 cars in total. The most I have seen is 4 on one occasion. One of these was not connected, but all were electric cars. Myself and one other regularly use 2 of the spots and occasionally 1 other is quite regular. I work at a vehcile research centre and expect that this will soon become a problem to get a charge at work. At this time we shall need more charge points. There will always be a peak period during the day and mostly zero usage at night. I shall start work earlier to make sure i get a spot as I always need it. I am not currently equiped to get a text message when charge is finished, but it is on my list of future project developments.